Statue of Junípero Serra

Junípero Serra, O.F.M., (/dʒuːnɨˈpɛroʊ ˈsɛrə/; Spanish: [xuˈnipeɾo ˈsera]), known as Fra Juníper Serra in Catalan, his mother tongue, (Catalan: [ʒuˈnipər ˈsɛrə]) (November 24, 1713 – August 28, 1784) was a Spanish Franciscan friar who founded a mission in Baja California and the first nine of 21 Spanish missions in California from San Diego to San Francisco, which at the time were in Alta California of the Las Californias Province in New Spain. He began in San Diego on July 16, 1769, and established his headquarters near Monterey, California at Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.

Serra was born Miquel Joseph Serra in Petra, Majorca (Mallorca), Spain. On November 14, 1730, he entered the Alcantarine Franciscans, a reform movement in the Order, and took the name "Junipero" in honor of Saint Juniper, who had also been a Franciscan and a companion of Saint Francis.
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